It may seem like a small difference, but it’s something that can have a huge impact. When someone values a person, they esteem them for who they are, not what they can provide. When someone treats someone as valuable, it may seem like the same thing, but in actuality, they are esteeming the benefit that person can provide and not the person themselves. Ultimately, to treat someone as valuable, is to objectify them, to value them is to lift them up.
The real problem is often the two things are mistaken by people seeking what they believe is true love. All too often we shy away from discussing the differences in men and women, but in this instance I believe that just such a difference is key. I believe God designed women to seek being valued. This is a beautiful picture of how God has loved and values us.
God sent his only Son, a price we can never fully grasp, to redeem mankind. He showed us true value, as there is nothing we can add to Him, but gave all to reconcile us with Him. It is this type of value that is deeply seeded in a woman’s heart. This inherent desire is tragically high jacked by those who seek to exploit them either intentionally or unintentionally.
Many of the women suffering broken relationships that bring them to my office, were initially swept off their feet by someone who showed them counterfeit value. Showering them with time, gifts, attention, pretty words and gentle touch; they feel overwhelmed with love. This is often a rapid process with so many rapid acts of romance that they are blinded by emotion, and invest themselves heart and soul.
It is then that the insidious slow drip of control begins. It is invariably marked by suggestions of flaws. It can be only one discouraging word planted amongst a thousand flattering ones, that does harm. Often times it’s the suggestion that “you’re so stupid” delivered with a laugh. Maybe she doesn’t know that a foul ball counts as a strike, as she is snuggled up with him on the couch watching the game. As he laughs at her ignorance, she is struck with a sick feeling in her stomach. She makes an attempt to laugh it off, after all, he’s right, it was “silly”.
What’s really happening here is so much more damaging. What’s been introduced is a devaluing of her as a person. All that’s left is the value she can add to the relationship. The design is that she would feel compelled to do whatever he may want in order to continue to feel needed.
The reverse of this is the male counterpart. Being valuable is key. Most men find their importance in providing something unique. Whether it’s providing for their family, filling a special role at work, or being the go to player on the softball team at work; having something uniquely valuable makes a man feel special. Undermine just one of these areas a man treasures, and the domino effect can be devastating. “Jenny’s husband made Vice President and they’re taking a trip to Europe this fall. I wish we could do things like that…”. A seemingly innocent comment can crumble a man’s identity as a provider. Suddenly he feels he is not valuable, that he is a failure. He may begin to question why he even tries, or worse, why he should bother with a wife who doesn’t appreciate him.
Women need to be valued for who they are and men need to be appreciated for what they do. Neglecting or twisting these truths drive husband and wife from each other. I believe God’s design is that the value of a wife would be confirmed by the provision and care of her husband.
He loved us not for what we could do for Him, but just because of how He made us. We learned to love Him because of the great things He has done for us. Over and over, scripture uses the picture of marriage to illustrate our relationship with Him. Earthly marriage is designed to reflect heavenly truth, so the healthiest marriages embrace the husbands role as a sacrificial provider and the wife’s role as a valued beauty worth dying for. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,”
Ephesians 5:25 ESV